Gov. Robert Bentley signs law increasing state income
tax deduction for small businesses that offer health insurance
to employees. Applies to 2011 tax year. Deduction for
businesses employing fewer than 25 people increases to 200%
Gov. Jan Brewer vetoes bill that would have allowed
health insurers from other states to write in Arizona. The bill
would have waived many rules that protect consumers by allowing
out-of-state insurers to compete based on laws in their states
of domicile. She also questioned consumers’ recourse in
cases where they are wronged by the carrier.
Mel Anderson, deputy commissioner for Financial
Regulation in the Insurance Department, selected by state
Society of Certified Public Accountants as “Outstanding
CPA in Government” for 2011.
Seizes Majestic, a workers compensation insurer
offering coverage in multiple states nationwide. Proposes
transferring liabilities and certain assets to AmTrust North
America, which would pay all of Majestic’s claims. San
Francisco Superior Court will look at the proposed
rehabilitation plan June 2. >> Bill allowing state
regulators to prohibit excessive increases in health insurance
rates, co-pays and deductibles moves through legislative
committee. Commissioner Dave Jones says last year’s law
allowing him to call for an independent actuarial review of
proposed increases isn’t enough. This bill permits
consumers to intervene in any regulatory decision by filing a
civil lawsuit if they disagree with it. >> Adopts workers
comp e-billing regulation that encourages insurers and medical
providers to transition to electronic billing. New regulation
standardizes billing forms. Rules become effective this
Omnibus property insurance reform bill, S.B. 408,
passes Senate. It cracks down on public adjusters and frees
insurers (except Citizens) from providing comprehensive
sinkhole coverage. Companion bill is in House. It also allows
insurers to charge whatever they want for sinkhole coverage,
which could be a problem since some lenders require the
coverage for mortgages.
Gov. Nathan Deal expected to sign law requiring that
certificate of insurance forms be filed with and approved by
the state insurance commissioner. Bill also puts certificate
holders under commissioner’s regulatory authority so
violations of use rules are punishable under insurance code.
>> Legislature passes bill allowing purchase of health
insurance from other states.
Gov. Sam Brownback signs workers comp reform bill that
raises the threshold for an incident to be compensable,
overturns multiple decisions that erode intent of workers comp
system, affirms that employers are entitled to a credit for
pre-existing conditions, increases benefit caps for injured
employees who can no longer work, and requires employers to
provide two alternative doctors instead of three.
Insurers have come to an $8 million settlement with
building supplier over tainted Chinese drywall. Primary
insurers will put up limits of policies for Interior/Exterior
Building Supply, a regional supplier for Knauf’s Chinese
drywall. Agreement subject to court approval. This is the first
settlement with a major supplier in the multi-district
litigation (a consolidation of federal cases on the tainted
drywall). Plaintiffs will proceed to trial later in 2011
against Interior/Exterior’s excess carriers who have more
than $72 million in potential liability.
Regulators come to agreement with insurers to hold
workers comp rates steady until at least September 2012. The
industry had requested a 6.6% average increase.